MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Canadian mine strikes lode of unrest in Guatemala

Published by MAC on 2005-04-26


Canadian mine strikes lode of unrest

The debate over the presence of a gold mine in Guatemala has resulted in a call for 'urgent action' by Amnesty International, Kelly Patterson writes.

Kelly Patterson, The Ottawa Citizen

April 26, 2005

Violence over a Canadian gold mine is threatening the fragile peace in Guatemala, which is still reeling in the aftermath of its 36-year civil war.

Clashes over Glamis Gold Ltd.'s fledgling project 130 kilometres northwest of Guatemala City have escalated recently, with a car bombing and two killings.

Amnesty International issued a call for "urgent action" last week after three opponents of the mine received death threats. Anti-mining activists have in turn menaced Glamis staff, the company says.

Conflict over the mine has split the country, with indigenous people and church groups facing off against the government. Much of the civil war was fought in the same highlands, where the suppression of insurgents by the U.S.-backed army left about 200,000 dead or missing, mostly Mayans.

The Catholic Church has been so vocal in its opposition to the Glamis project that the Washington Post recently speculated the conflict could rekindle the long-dormant "liberation theology" movement, in which priests took on authoritarian governments throughout Central America. Observers say the movement is gaining momentum with the recent death of Pope John Paul II.

"If we don't evangelize to help poor people, it's not the evangelizing of Jesus Christ," Bishop Alvaro Ramazzini, a prominent anti-mine campaigner, told the Post.

Now under construction, Glamis' $140-million U.S. project is widely seen as a test case for the government's commitment to peace with the Mayans.

The Canadian firm stands to reap 225,000 ounces of gold and three million ounces of silver annually for the 10-year life of the mine.

The stakes are especially high because Guatemala is poised to aggressively pursue mining: In recent years it has granted exploration permits for almost 10 per cent of its territory -- much of that on Mayan land, and much of it to Canadian companies, according to the watchdog group Rights Action.

Indigenous leaders say they have not granted permission for these concessions, and are adamant that they were not consulted about the Glamis mine.

The government has imposed a six-month moratorium on all new exploitation permits, while a commission of government and church leaders meets to resolve the issue.

Under the 1996 peace deal that ended the civil war, indigenous people must consent to any venture affecting their land.

Steve Baumann, vice-president of Glamis' Latin American projects, insists the company did just that. In a phone interview, he said it held 177 public meetings, attended by more than 11,000 people, from 2003 to 2004. About 3,400 people came out to site visits as well, he added.

But critics say the meetings were really promotional sessions: "People thought these were information meetings," said Jamie Kneen of MiningWatch Canada. "They were quite surprised to see their names on the documentation saying they had been consulted."

Critics are also concerned about the environmental impact of the mine, which will use cyanide to leach out the gold, and which will use about 760 litres of groundwater per minute, even in the dry season. Hired to review Glamis' environmental assessment, independent U.S. consultant Robert Moran blasted it as "very simplistic and optimistic." Last week, both he and Bishop Ramazzini were refused entry to the mine, according to the Guatemalan group MadreSelva.

But Mr. Baumann says the mine will easily meet the environmental standards of the World Bank, which is backing the project with a $45-million loan. He says the cyanide will be safely contained, and the mine's 300-metre-deep well won't affect any other sources.

He says the mine has already brought benefits: 800 locals now work at the mine; all will be kept on, some to work on the mine, others to do community projects. Glamis also chips in $400,000 a year to a local aid agency.

In addition to a 31-per-cent tax on its profits, Glamis must give one per cent of the value of its ore to local and central governments, he adds.

But many are convinced the mine will spell disaster over the long term.

In December, protesters blocked a convoy of mining equipment for 42 days; on Jan. 11, police fired on protesters, killing one and injuring several more.

Two weeks later, Bishop Ramazzini led 3,000 people in an anti-mine protest in the provincial capital. He is now under government protection after receiving death threats.

And last month, a guard for the mine's security force allegedly shot 23-year-old Alvaro Sanchez in the street. Glamis says the incident resulted from a personal conflict, adding that the guard, who has since disappeared, also stole a company vehicle.

Also last month, a vehicle belonging to a Mayan leader was torched, and death threats issued against him and two other anti-mine community leaders.

Mr. Baumann says mine employees have got letters "saying, basically, 'If you work for the mine, we are going to kill you.'"

Last week, the mine condemned the use of violence and threats by any faction.

Ambassador James Lambert has made speeches and written a newspaper piece promoting Canadian mining. The embassy also helped organize a conference showcasing Canadian mining.

Mr. Lambert says the embassy has a mandate to promote both Canadian interests and Canadian values such as sustainable development, and "the two are not mutually contradictory."

"Far from being damaging, the fact that we have real interests at stake in Guatemala enhances our credibility locally."

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005


Guatemala: Government and Montana - a glittering alliance

By Crosby Girón, Inforpress Centroamericana

15th April 2005

There has been much speculation about possible family connections between officials and stakeholders in the mining company Montana Exploradora and the President and Vice-president of Guatemala. Some of the names that have emerged help explain the significant backing that the Berger government has given to the mining effort in general and to Montana in particular. Possible bribes and vote buying to garner support for the mining projects have also come to light. Although local communities are consulted about their needs and desires, the vice minister of Energy and Mines, Jorge García, categorically maintains that the consultancies will not ultimately decide whether or not the project will continue.

Untying the Knots

Transnational firms regularly court government leaders in the countries in which they have invested, and in many cases it is in the personal interest of the leaders to support them. Montana Explorada Ltd, subsidiary of Glamis Gold (Canada), is the most recent example of this type of company/government courtship. The company operates its Marlin gold mine in San Miguel Ixtahuacán and Sipacapa, San Marcos. Family links between Montana officials and the nation's Executive have begun to arouse suspicions.

The general manager of Montana, Milton Saravia, has a long running relationship with the Berger family. In 1993, he was appointed to the executive secretariat of the National Commission for Protected Areas (CONAP), a post he reportedly received as a result of pressure from María Novella Wyld de Berger, wife of Francois Berger Dorión, cousin of the President Óscar Berger.

According to Roberto Arias, columnist for the evening paper La Hora, Mrs. Wyld de Berger, better known as Nini de Berger, was one of the main financial supporters of the Serrano Elias campaign (La Hora 01/29/05). This position won her influence in that government, during which Saravia was named Presidential Commissioner on the Environment: "She was the one in charge", declared Arias.

In 1993, Arias published an article in Prensa Libre (04/ 17/93-04/18/93) in which he alleged that Saravia was unqualified to carry out the obligations of Presidential Commissioner. According to the columnist, the fallout from his story caused Saravia to leave CONAP.

Later, Saravia became consultant to and coordinator of the Administrative Unit for Environmental Control and representative of the Nuclear Energy Directorate, both under the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM). Also in 1993, the University Students Environmental Commission (CEUMA-AEU) accused Saravia of illegally trafficking precious hardwoods in Petén (CAR, XXXII, 5).

In the case of Berger Dorión, he made his way into Serrano Elias' Specific Council. He and his wife currently work in the Tropical Forest Foundation, and she is the owner of the "Auto Safari Chapin" safari park.

Similarly, the Sierra Madre Foundation, created by Glamis Gold and Montana Exploradora to develop social support programs in mining areas, is controlled by Arturo Melville. Melville has a history in the private sector, as a supporter of small and medium sized businesses, specifically in the Bolivar Program.

Melville is also the step-brother of Eduardo Stein, the vice president. Melville confirmed this information to CAR but said the matter was a private affair.

These relationships shed light on the marked government interest in the continuation of the Marlin mining project (CAR, XXXII, 1). A recent rumor also has it that one of Berger's sons, Óscar Berger Widmann, is a stockholder in Montana (CAR, XXXII, 5).

Analysts also noted that the president's brother-in-law may be a partner in one of the companies interested in operating in San Marcos, Totonicapán, and Sololá (FUNDADESC, Informe Guatemala. Análisis de situación, pp. 1,2 see citation 3, Boletín no. 13.16, Feb. 2005). "This link between public servants and mining personnel is suspicious", Arias told CAR.

For political analyst Carlos Hoffman, "widely demonstrated interest by the government in Montana makes you think that they may have something to gain. Often, transnationals seek to corrupt the highest echelons of the government to make it easier to assure their profits".

Clearing the Way

The World Bank (WB) considered financing the Marlin project on two separate occasions. Eventually, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the WB, granted US$45 million for the project. The IFC and Glamis Gold contracted the Citizens Development Corps (CDC) to create the Sierra Madre Foundation, currently headed by Melville.

Melville told CAR that the Foundation has invested more than US$1 million in activities including sewing and bread making workshops, a free health fair and a prenatal clinic.

The Bank Information Center, an organization that lobbies international financial institutions (IFIs) to take responsibility for projects they finance, published a report (Bulletin No. 1, 3/22/05, www.bicusa.org) in which it said "participants must bring their own sewing machines, pay for thread, flour, yeast, and firewood...moreover, they never determined whether or not there was actually a market for these products".

"We don't want to be paternalistic and go around handing out things. What we are looking for is to be able to empower the communities", explained Melville. Mining has a promising future in Guatemala, according to the MEM. 395 licenses have been granted: two for inspection, 126 for exploration, and 262 for mining various minerals. Of these, 33 licenses were granted for the extraction of metallic minerals (see box). (Note: let me know if you want the chart. It was too big to send to the list--todd)

The Situation on the Ground

The national press has put aside the mining issue to focus their attention on the Free Trade Agreement with the US (CAFTA) and the approval of the Concessions Law. Meanwhile, Montana has made progress with a number of different strategies, one of them the Sierra Madre Foundation. Communities with few employment opportunities and low national involvement see mining as a salve for their economic woes.

A second strategy involves winning over the support of local authorities and community leaders.

According to Mario Tema, program co-ordinator for the Guatemala Mayan Languages Academy (ALMG), "the foundation is just camouflage so they can say they're doing something for the communities when, in reality, they are deceiving them".

Tema told CAR that there are many indicators that Montana has bought the favor of both local government and community leaders. "An official in the previous administration sold Montana a plot of land belonging to the municipality and they took the municipal council in a helicopter to Honduras to show them the other mine that they have there", he said.

Tema commented that a survey was currently underway in the communities. "They gave all the municipal employees cell phones, which delegitimizes the process. The same vice minister (Jorge García) came (on Thursday, 7 April) and told us that the survey was in no way linked to whether or not the mining company would continue operations".

"The Foundation carried out an activity on December 17 at which they sold clothing, snacks, and sweets. The organization said 'progress in Sipacapa has now begun' just because they sold a basket of bread and some candies. That is taking advantage of the poverty and ignorance of the population", he added.

Other indicators include the fact that the ex-mayor of Sipacapa, Sergio González, who, prior to becoming mayor, was a school teacher, currently has a construction company, a late model car, and, according to Tema, a house in Puerto Madero, Tapachula (on the other side of the Guatemala/Mexico border). Moreover, one of González' brothers works as a publicist for Montana.


Guatemala: Gobierno y Montana, una alianza que brilla

INFORPRESS CENTROAMERICANA Edición: 1603 - Publicado Por Crosby Girón

15/04/2005

Mucho se ha especulado sobre los posibles vínculos familiares entre funcionarios y accionistas de la minera Montana Exploradora con el mandatario y vice mandatario. Algunos nombres empiezan a surgir y hacen lógico el espaldarazo que el gobierno ha mostrado, especialmente a esta empresa. Además, salen a luz posibles sobornos y compra de voluntades para favorecer a la minera. A nivel local se hace una consulta para saber qué quieren las comunidades. Sin embargo, el viceministro de Energía y Minas, Jorge García, asegura que dicha consulta no es vinculante por lo que el proyecto no se detendrá.

DESENTORCHANDO LA MADEJA

No es nuevo que las empresas transnacionales busquen el respaldo de los gobernantes de los países a donde llevan sus inversiones, para lo cual buscan influyentes contrapartes en los países a invertir. Sobre todo porque a los gobiernos les corresponde respaldarlas. En el caso de Montana Exploradora Ltda. subsidiaria de Glamis Gold de Canadá, no se hace excepción. Esta empresa desarrolla en los municipios de San Miguel Ixtahuacán y Sipacapa, San Marcos, el proyecto Marlin de extracción de oro. Algunos vínculos familiares entre funcionarios de Montana y las máximas autoridades del Ejecutivo empiezan a despertar sospechas.

El actual gerente general de Montana, Milton Saravia, tiene una relación añeja con los Berger, según advierten analistas del tema minero y petrolero. Se cita por ejemplo, que en 1993 fue nombrado como secretario ejecutivo de la Comisión Nacional de Áreas Protegidas (CONAP), supuestamente por presiones de María Novella Wyld de Berger, esposa de Francoise Berger Dorión, primo del mandatario Óscar Berger. Según Roberto Arias, columnista del vespertino La Hora, la señora Wyld de Berger, más conocida como Nini de Berger, fue una de las principales financistas de la campaña de Serrano Elías (La Hora 29/01/05). Esta situación hizo que tuviera mucha influencia durante ese gobierno, en el cual desempeñó el cargo de Comisionado Presidencial de Medio Ambiente. Ella era la que mandaba, asegura Arias.

En 1993, Arias publicó un reportaje en el diario Prensa Libre (17-18/04/1993), en el que denuncia que Saravia no podía optar a ese cargo porque no cumplía con los requisitos necesarios. Según el columnista, el reportaje originaría la salida de Saravia del CONAP. Posteriormente, Saravia se desempeñó como asesor y coordinador de la Unidad Administrativa para el Control Ambiental y, funcionario de la Dirección de Energía Nuclear, ambas dependencias del Ministerio de Energía y Minas (MEM). También en 1993, la Coalición Ambiental de Estudiantes Universitarios (CEUMA-AEU) le señaló de traficar ilegalmente maderas preciosas en Petén (Inforpress 1593, Informe Especial).

En el caso de Berger Dorión, integró además, el Consejo Específico de Serrano Elías. Junto con su esposa, trabaja actualmente en la Fundación del Bosque Tropical (FBT) y es dueña del parque "Auto Safari Chapín". Por otro lado, la Fundación Sierra Madre, creada por Glamis Gold y Montana Exploradora para desarrollar programas de apoyo social en las áreas geográficas donde operan estas mineras en Guatemala, es dirigida por Arturo Melville, quien ha trabajado en el sector privado en apoyo a la pequeña y mediana empresa, particularmente en el Programa Bolívar.

Melville además es hermanastro de Eduardo Stein, vicepresidente de la República que en su momento ha mediado en el tema (Inforpress 1595). Esta relación fue confirmada por Melville a Inforpress, pero dijo que se trataba de un asunto privado. Nuestro trabajo para Montana no es hacerle relaciones públicas, lo que hacemos es buscar el desarrollo sostenible para las comunidades, dijo Melville.

Estas relaciones de alguna manera le dan lógica y confirman el marcado interés del gobierno en que el proyecto minero Marlin continúe (Inforpress 1591). En el ambiente existe el rumor de que uno de los hijos del presidente Berger, Óscar Berger Widmann tendría participación en acciones en Montana Exploradora Ltda. (Inforpress 1593, Informe Especial). Igualmente, analistas dieron a conocer hace algunos meses versiones de que un cuñado del mandatario "sería socio de empresas interesadas en explotar y explorar en San Marcos, Totonicapán y Sololá" (FUNDADESC, Informe Guatemala. Análisis de situación, págs. 1 y 2, cita 3. Boletín No. 13. 16 de febrero de 2005).

Esta vinculación entre funcionarios públicos y personeros de la minera es sospechosa, dijo Arias a Inforpress. Para el analista político Carlos Hoffman, el interés ampliamente demostrado por el gobierno hacia Montana, hace pensar que tendrán algún beneficio.Muchas veces las transnacionales buscan corromper a las altas esferas del gobierno porque de esta manera facilitan sus ganancias.

ABRIENDO CAMINO

En primera instancia, el Banco Mundial (BM) pensó dos veces financiar el proyecto Marlin. Sin embargo, la International Finance Corporation (IFC), brazo privado del BM otorgó US$45 millones para el proyecto. Entre IFC y Glamis Gold, contrataron a Citizens Development Corps (CDC) para crear la Fundación Sierra Madre que dirige Melville.

Melville dijo a Inforpress que a la fecha han invertido más de US$1 millón en actividades como talleres de costura y panadería, también una feria de la salud gratuita y una clínica prenatal. Sin embargo, el Bank Information Center (Boletín No. 1, 22 de marzo, 2005 en www.bicusa.org), una organización que cabildea con organismos financieros internacionales para demandar de éstos mayor responsabilidad en varios aspectos relacionados con los proyectos que financian, publicó en un boletín que los participantes debían llevar sus propias máquinas de coser, pagar la tela, la harina, la levadura y la leña, además no se determinó si realmente existiera un mercado para estos productos.

Lo que sucede es que no queremos ser paternalistas y andar regalando cosas, lo que buscamos es empoderar a las comunidades, dijo Melville. Estas condiciones hacen pensar que la actividad minera tiene un futuro prometedor en Guatemala. Según datos del MEM, a la fecha se han extendido 395 licencias, 2 de reconocimiento, 126 de exploración y 262 de explotación de distintos minerales. Entre éstas hay 33 licencias otorgadas para la explotación de minerales metálicos (cuadro). (lo ciento, no tengo el cuadro en español--todd)

EL ESCENARIO LOCAL

La prensa nacional ha dejado por el momento el tema de la minería en el tintero. Su agenda se enfoca ahora en el Tratado de Libre Comercio y la aprobación de la Ley de Concesiones. Sin embargo, de forma silenciosa Montana avanza con distintas estrategias.

La Fundación Sierra Madre es una de ellas. Las comunidades que a falta de empleo y atención por parte de las autoridades ven en la minería un paliativo para su situación. Otra es ganar la voluntad de las autoridades locales y líderes comunitarios para que apoyen el proyecto minero. De acuerdo con Mario Tema, coordinador de programas de la Academia de Lenguas Mayas de Guatemala (ALMG) esa fundación es sólo como un camuflaje para decir que están haciendo algo por las comunidades, pero en realidad sólo están engañando a la gente.

Tema dijo a Inforpress que hay muchos indicios de que Montana ha estado comprando voluntades tanto de autoridades locales como de líderes comunitarios. Uno de los síndicos de la anterior administración municipal vendió a la minera un terreno municipal, además llevaron a la corporación municipal anterior en helicóptero a Honduras para mostrarles la otra mina que tienen allá, aseguró.

Tema informó que actualmente se está realizando un proceso de consulta con las comunidades. Ellos le regalaron un celular a todos los empleados municipales, esto deslegitima el proceso. El mismo viceministro (Jorge García) vino (jueves 7 de abril) y nos dijo que la consulta no tenía carácter vinculante y que la empresa va a seguir.

La Fundación hizo el 17 de diciembre una actividad en la que vendía ropa, refacciones y dulces. Los organizadores decían "señores ya empezó el progreso en Sipacapa", sólo porque vendieron un canasto de panes y dulces, eso es aprovecharse de la pobreza e ignorancia de la población, denunció Tema. Otros indicios son que el ex alcalde de Sipacapa, Sergio Gonzáles, que hasta antes de ser alcalde era maestro de escuela, tiene ahora una constructora, vehículo del año y según Tema tendría una casa en Puerto Madero, Tapachula. Además, una hermana de González trabaja como promotora de Montana.


Statement from the I Regional Conference of Indigenous Authorities from the Western Highlands: "MINING AND THE PATRIMONY OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES"

March 31st and April 1 in the city of Totonicapán, Guatemala, with the participation of representatives from the departments of Huehuetenango, El Quiché, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán and Sololá.

TO:

The Central Government, The Municipal Governments, Guatemalan Society, Indigenous Peoples, And The International Community,

WE DENOUNCE

The intentional unfulfillment of President Oscar Berger's commitments to indigenous peoples, proven by actions contradictory to his promises. We also denounce the misleading attitude of Vice President Eduardo Stein, whose lies to the population of Sololá became clear when he did not attend a meeting on February 6th. This dialogue had previously been arranged with the population of Sololá in order to clarify the government's decision to use excessive force and repression instead of open dialogue. In the same vein, we denounce the farcical participation of the Vice Minister of Energy and Mines March 3rd in an audience with the Inter-American Human Rights Commission regarding the human rights violations related to metallic mining; the deception of Presidential Human Rights Commissioner Frank La Rue, who did not follow through with his commitment to attend a dialogue March 16th with indigenous authorities, campesino, indigenous, union, social and teacher organizations in El Quiché, regarding the reasons behind a protest March 15th in the same city.

The repression, persecution, threats, jailing and assassination of our indigenous brothers who demonstrated their inconformity with the actions of the current government, exercising their rights as citizens and indigenous peoples. Also, the State security forces' violent repression of the multiple and frequent expressions of discontent all over the national territory; the current Minister of the Interior's strategy of repression against the just demands of the indigenous peoples for their natural resources; the threats of detention of indigenous, campesino, union, popular and social movement leaders; the assassination of our indigenous brothers and leaders Juan López (Huehuetenango), Raúl Castro Bocel (Sololá) and Álvaro Benigno Sánchez López (San Marcos).

The racist strategy driven by the President of the Republic to manipulate indigenous peoples by offering direct dialogue with the indigenous peoples - a dialogue that is never carried out. Instead of dialogue, at the same time as these empty promises, activities to delegitimize and criminalize the just demands of indigenous peoples are implemented. We also denounce the unnecessary High Level Commission on Mining; the creation of 'Indigenous Advisors' (Asesores Indigenas) that have no legitimacy; the contracting of bilingual promoters to promote mining in indigenous communities; the lack of clarity in the suspension or cancellation of mining licenses for exploration and exploitation. As well, we denounce the transport of another cylinder or filter on March 31st to the Marlin project in San Miguel Ixtahuacán, accompanied by an excessive deployment of State security forces all along the stretch between Sololá and Totonicapán.

WE DEMAND

The fulfillment of agreements on the identity and rights of indigenous peoples, and strict respect of ILO Covenant 169.

An immediate halt to the criminalization of the right to protest and the use of the term 'terrorist' to delegitimize the just demands of indigenous peoples and campesino, indigenous, union, popular and social movement organizations.

We hold the President of the Republic responsible for the social polarization and the increased impunity of security forces in their actions against demonstrations, ending in the assassination of indigenous leaders.

Clarification of the assassinations of our brothers Castro, López and Sánchez, as well as fair reparations to their families.

The recognition and respect of indigenous authorities who are the legitimate representatives of indigenous peoples.

Respect of indigenous peoples' territory and institutions, as well as our use and administration of our natural resources.

WE AGREE

To create the Regional Council of Indigenous Peoples of the departments of Huehuetenango, El Quiché, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán and Sololá.

To realize the Second Conference in the department of San Marcos, May 31 and June 1, 2005. To continue with the firm commitment to defend our rights as indigenous peoples within the framework of democracy and the right to express ourselves and to protest.

In the city of Chuimekena, on the day Kiejib' K'awuk' (April 1st, 2005).

The Indigenous Mayors of Huehuetenango, El Quiché, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán and Sololá


Memorial de la I Conferencia Regional de Autoridades Indígenas del Altiplano Occidental Sobre: "LA MINERIA Y EL PATRIMONIO DE LOS PUEBLOS INDIGENAS"

realizado los días 31 de marzo y 1 de abril en la ciudad de Totonicapán, Guatemala, con la participación de representantes de los departamentos de Huehuetenango, El Quiché, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán y Sololá.

ANTE

El Gobierno Central, Los Gobiernos Municipales, La Sociedad Guatemalteca, Los Pueblos Indígenas y La Comunidad Internacional,

DENUNCIAMOS

El incumplimiento premeditado de los compromisos asumidos por el actual presidente de la República Lic. Oscar Berger frente a los pueblos indígenas comprobado con las acciones contradictorias a sus ofrecimientos. Así, la actuación discriminadora del vicepresidente de la República Dr. Eduardo Stein, al engañar al pueblo de Sololá por no presentarse el día 6 de febrero al diálogo previamente establecido con el pueblo de Sololá que estaba urgido por recibir una explicación satisfactoria sobre la decisión gubernamental del uso excesivo de la fuerza pública para reprimir en lugar de dialogar; la actuación farsante del viceministro de Energía y Minas en la audiencia sobre la violación a los derechos humanos en el caso de la minería de metales sostenida el 3 de marzo en la sede de la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos en la ciudad de Washington; y, la actuación engañadora del Comisionado Presidencial en Derechos Humanos Lic. Frank La Rue, al incumplir el 16 de marzo con asistir al diálogo con las autoridades indígenas y las organizaciones campesinas, indígenas, sindicales, sociales y magisteriales de El Quiché sobre los motivos de la protesta del 15 marzo en dicha ciudad.

La represión, persecución, amenaza, encarcelamiento y asesinato de los hermanos indígenas al manifestar su inconformidad con las acciones del actual gobierno, en el ejercicio de sus derechos ciudadanos e indígenas. Así, la represión violenta de la fuerza pública a las múltiples y frecuentes expresiones de descontento en todo el territorio nacional; la estrategia represiva impulsada por el actual ministro de gobernación en contra de la justas reivindicaciones del pueblos indígenas sobre su patrimonio natural; la amenaza de encarcelamiento a los dirigentes indígenas, campesinos, sindicales, populares y sociales; el asesinato de los líderes y hermanos indígenas Juan López (Huehuetenango), Raúl Castro Bocel (Sololá) y Álvaro Benigno Sánchez López (San Marcos).

La estrategia racista de manipulación a los pueblos indígenas impulsada por el presidente de la República a través del ofrecimiento de diálogo directo con los pueblos indígenas, diálogo que nunca se concreta. En lugar del diálogo, de forma paralela, implementa actividades de deslegitimación de las justas demandas de los pueblos indígenas. Así, la creación de una innecesaria Comisión de Alto Nivel para la Minería; la creación de la figura de Asesores Indígenas sin legitimidad; la contratación de promotores bilingües para realizar actividades prominería en el seno de los pueblos indígenas; la poca claridad en la suspensión o cancelación de las licencias de exploración y exploración minera. El traslado de otro cilindro o filtro a la mina de San Miguel Ixtahuacán, el día 31 de marzo con la utilización de un excesivo despliegue de fuerza pública a lo largo del trayecto entre Sololá y Totonicapán.

DEMANDAMOS

El cumplimiento del acuerdo de identidad y derechos de los pueblos indígenas y el estricto apego al convenio 169 de la OIT.

La no criminalización del derecho a la protesta deslegitimando con el uso del término "terrorista" a las justas reivindicaciones de los pueblos indígenas y de las organizaciones campesinas, indígenas, sindicales, populares y sociales.

Responsabilizamos al presidente de la República de la polarización social y del incremento de la impunidad represiva de los cuerpos de seguridad hacia las protestas sociales que han finalizado con asesinatos de líderes indígenas.

El esclarecimiento de los asesinatos de nuestros hermanos Castro, López y Sánchez, así como el justo resarcimiento a sus familias.

El reconocimiento y respeto de las autoridades indígenas quienes son los legítimos representantes de los pueblos indígenas.

El respeto a la territorialidad de los pueblos indígenas, a las instituciones indígenas; y, al uso y a la administración de sus recursos naturales.

ACORDAMOS

La conformación del Consejo Regional de Pueblos Indígenas de los departamentos de Huehuetenango, El Quiché, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán y Sololá.

Realizar la Segunda Conferencia en el departamento de San Marcos el 31 de mayo y 1 de junio de 2005.

Continuar con la firme de decisión de defender nuestros derechos de pueblos indígenas en el marco de la democracia y el derecho a pronunciarnos y a manifestar.

Dado en la ciudad de Chuimekena, el día kiejib' K'awuk'/1 de abril de 2005.

Alcaldes Indígenas de Huehuetenango, El Quiché, San Marcos, Quetzaltenango, Totonicapán y Sololá.

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